Howard A. Stone

Photo of Howard Stone
Associated Faculty, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Engineering Quadrangle, D326

Research Focus

Fluid dynamics of "complex fluids"
My group does research in fluid dynamics of "complex fluids", which refers to fluid systems that contain suspended objects (e.g. cells, droplets) that modify the flow. We interact broadly with other researchers in engineering, physics, chemistry and biology. In recent years my group has worked on several problems involving (I) flow and bacteria and (II) flow and biofilms, as well as various problems involving (III)  flow of red bloods cells and (IV) some problems involving chemical signaling of mammalian cells. As part of these studies we have developed expertise with these systems and have forged excellent collaborations with leading labs in molecular biology. For example, in our research we have documented the formation of biofilm streamers in laminar flows, identified shear-enhanced adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) to surfaces, and the upstream migration of PA when the bacteria is attached to surfaces and exposed to flow. We have also worked on a variety of problems involving mammalian cells, including their response to chemical signals and how the response is influenced by the mechanical properties of the surrounding materials and/or substrate. In all of these studies we have used the toolboxes of microfluidics and microscopy to develop experimental tools appropriate to the questions under study.